Real Strategies from Real Districts

Education Resource Strategies (ERS) has developed detailed profiles of eight school systems that have transformed how the central office supports schools and have seen student results.

The new Districts at Work series looks specifically at how districts achieved their strategic priorities through:

  • A clear theory of action that included both school-level changes and central office supports
  • Tough trade-offs to shift resources (e.g., people, time money)
  • District process shifts to enable schools to implement the changes (e.g., roles, mindset, data & tools, timelines)

Concrete examples from these districts show how to take on common challenges, such as finding time for teacher collaboration, guiding principals through budget uncertainties, and setting students up for postsecondary success. Tangible tools and templates are also shared.

How did these eight districts get their initiatives to really work for students and schools? ERS found one common ingredient: the central office supported schools in a better way by: (1) working with schools to set a clear theory of action for how they can succeed, (2) following through with tough resource trade-offs, and (3) redesigning processes-such as timelines, tools, and mindsets-to support schools’ ability to implement the changes. These are the gears that transform strategic plans into powerful engines of student learning.

For more, see